The New York City Recovery Index

72

The latest reading of the New York City Recovery Index out of a possible score of 100.

New York City’s economic recovery stalled in the week ending August 6, 2022, with the index score unchanged at 72 out of 100. COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to decline, while rental housing availability has made a significant comeback. In contrast, subway ridership and restaurant reservations both had a negative week, while unemployment insurance (UI) claims increased.

New York City’s economic recovery stands at a score of 72 out of 100, according to the New York City Recovery Index, a joint project between Investopedia and NY1. More than two years into the pandemic, New York City’s economic recovery is nearly three-quarters back to pre-pandemic levels.

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline

New York’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate fell for the third consecutive week, to 118 people hospitalized per day, from 130 recorded the previous week. Despite recent declines, hospitalizations remain more than six times higher than their post-winter wave low of 18 per day recorded on March 12. With a score of 41 out of 100, the COVID-19 hospitalizations sub-index remains the worst performing measure within the index aggregate.

The CDC continues to project that virtually all current cases are related to omicron, with the dominant BA.5 subvariant contributing to 88% of new cases. Meanwhile, the BA.4.6 and BA.4 variants accounted for 6.9% and 4.3% of new cases, respectively. As of August 15, 79.3% of all New York City residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by NYC Health and Hospital Data, a slight increase from the previous week. Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 2.77 million cases – confirmed and probable – have been recorded in New York, along with 41,342 deaths.

Unemployment claims rise an inch

The number of people filing Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims in New York rose by 220 for the week ended August 6, for a total of 6,290. Meanwhile, the 2019 moving average of claims, following the pre-pandemic equivalent week, increased by only 20 claims to 5,333. As such, unemployment insurance claims are now 18% above their pre-pandemic baseline and are no longer considered fully recovered, marking the second week in a row that this has been the case.

Home sales remain largely unchanged

The pending home sales sub-index was relatively unchanged for the week ending Aug. 6, with current home sales and the 2019 moving average of sales declining by a similar amount. Pending home sales for the week ending August 6 fell 30 to a total of 452, while the 2019 moving average for home sales fell 32 to 404. The index measure is still fully recovered. By borough, Brooklyn continues to lead Manhattan and Queens in home sales from their 2019 baselines. Home sales in Brooklyn recently exceeded 2019 levels by 23.2%, compared to an increase of 9.7% for Manhattan. Sales in Queens, on the other hand, are now 1.1% below their pre-pandemic baseline.

Rise in vacant units

The number of vacant homes available in New York’s rental market jumped in the week ending August 6, rising by 1,345 to 17,102. This is the best rental availability result since late December 2021. As a result, the rental inventory sub-index rose nearly six percentage points to a score of 86 out of 100. With this week’s gains, rental availability in New York is around one thousand units below the pre-pandemic level.

Metro ridership drops slightly

Subway ridership had another negative week, with ridership falling to 40.8% below pre-pandemic levels from 37.7% below last week. Current ridership is roughly in line with the pre-omicron level of November 2021. The MTA reported a seven-day average of 2.64 million riders during the week ended August 6.

Drop in restaurant reservations

Restaurant reservations across New York City saw a significant correction in the week ended Aug. 6, falling 40.8% below their pre-pandemic baseline. In turn, the restaurant reservations sub-index fell to 59 out of 100, matching the metro mobility sub-index as the second worst performing measure in the aggregate index currently.

New York City continues to lag significantly behind other major U.S. cities in the recovery of its restaurant industry, with about 40% of pre-pandemic diners yet to return. Reservations at restaurants in Chicago and Washington, DC are 27.3% and 26.3% behind their pre-pandemic baselines, respectively. Los Angeles restaurants fared even better with an 18.6% loss, while Houston restaurants have almost fully recovered their pandemic-related losses at just 0.2% below their baseline of 2019.

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